Marriage and Presumed Fathers
If you are married at the time the baby is born, the law presumes that the married couple is the father and mother of the child.
As a father, you have the legal rights and obligations of a father, such as custody and support.
So if you are married, and you suspect you are NOT the biological father, you must immediately challenge the presumption within the time limit. If you do not act within the time frame, the law presumes you are the father, even if later DNA tests reveal you are not.
Most men’s initial reaction to this presumption of law is that of outrage. The law protects children. It is not the child’s fault that the mother lied. Also, once the father-child relationship is established, most men find themselves attached to their child, even if they know they’re not biologically linked.
Establishing Paternity When Unmarried
If you are not married, you will need to establish parentage.
Do this one of two ways:
1) signing the Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (in the hospital); or
2) Filing a parentage case and obtaining a Judgment of Parentage.
Why Establish Parentage? 9 Reasons
- Every child has the right to their identity; to know where they come from.
- The right to inherit from either parent;
- Monetary support from both parents;
- Legal documentation identifying both parents;
- Having the names of both parents on the child’s birth certificate;
- Access to family medical records and history;
- Health and life insurance coverage from either parent;
- The right to receive social security benefits; and
- The right to receive veteran’s benefits.